The PRERA committee have heard, informally, that the council is moving towards the renovation of the balconies across the estate. This is something that the committee has been campaigning for for years, due to their dangerously decrepit state.
We are told that a contractor has been chosen and will replace a small section of balustrade as a trail. We have enquired about whether planning permission is required and whether a Section 20 consultation should have been carried out. (If the cost is over £250 per leaseholder, then leaseholders must be consulted.) We will pass on further information when we hear it.
As Pinnacle PSG aren’t maintaining our lovely new raised beds (despite being paid to?) Rob has been weeding them. If you would like to help with making our estate an attractive place, do get in touch, or just have a go!
We have just received confirmation that our local MP Chuka Umunna will be visiting the estate this Friday. He is coming to meet residents of the estate to find out about our concerns. Representatives of the PRERA committee will be there, but all residents are welcome, so do come along. We will be walking around the estate, starting at the childrens’ play area at 2pm.
PRERA recently raised the dangerous state of the disused garages with the housing department. This was also taken up by Cllr Liz Atkins. As many of us know, the garages contain large amounts of rubbish, including flammable material, such as car tyres, mattresses and paint. There are also exposed electrical installations and, in some of the garages, frequent floods.
We were told, a few days ago, by our Estate Housing Officer, that the rubbish will be cleared from the garages. They will then be sealed, to prevent future access. We do not yet have a timescale for this.
In the longer term, PRERA will push to ensure that the garages are put back into use, either as garages, or for an alternative use. We can achieve this more easily if we know what the demand is for garages from residents. Please let us know if you would like to hire a garage on the estate, or if you have an idea for an alternative use for the garages.
For several years the play area has been open to dogs, because the springs on the gates had broken. After months of nagging by the committee, the springs have now been replaced, so children should now be able to play without worrying about dog mess.
Do you like what PRERA is doing? Would you like to join us in making the estate cleaner, greener and a friendlier place? Contact us!
Today Rob met with representatives from the council, UK Power Networks (UKPN) and Mitie to discuss the street lighting on the estate. As far as we know, there is only one street lamp that is currently not working – number 026. It was agreed that this would be reconnected to the supply by running a cable to the next lamp along the road.
We also discussed the missing posts numbered 001 and 005. Lamp 001 is at one end of Coburg Crescent and is much needed, so this will be replaced. To avoid obstructing the footpath, it will be installed in the flower bed. Lamp 005 has largely been made redundant by the installation of new flood lamps attached to Chalner House, so this will not be replaced. UKPN will disconnect the supply and Mitie will remove the stump.
Lambeth’s retrospective planning application for moving the heating pipes for the flats to the exterior walls has recently been decided. On 17th January 2017 permission was granted for this work. Most of the work has already been carried out several years ago, but the application also covers replacing the plywood cladding with painted metal cladding. This is because the wooden cladding was insufficiently weather resistant and is disintegrating.
One of the conditions on the decision notice is “All existing brown painted timber cladding shall be replaced with brown powder coated metal cladding within 6 months of the date of this decision.”, so work should commence soon.
More details can be found on the Lambeth Planning Applications Database. The reference number for the application is 16/05754/RG3 and it is called “Retrospective planning application for the retention of a new external heating distribution system and external pipework together with alterations to the pipe cladding installed to the external elevations of Ducaval, Baly, Ponton and Despard Houses on the Palace Road Estate. – Baly, Ponton, Ducavel And Despard Houses, Palace Road Estate London SW2”.
The committee has a long-standing campaign to encourage the council to maintain and repair the street lighting on the estate. While some progress has been made since our last blog post on this issue, there are still many problems. On our most recent survey of the lighting, carried out by Rob on 14th December 2016, lamps 021, 022, 031, 036, 039 and 040 were not working. Lamps 001, 004 and 005 were missing, having rusted through at the base and collapsed or having been hit by a vehicle.
On 3rd January, enquiries by Councillor Liz Atkins have elicited a response from Graham Statham (Maintenance Teams Manager, Technical Services) who has promised that the faulty lamps (021, 022, 031, 036, 039 and 040) will be repaired. No timescale was given and no reference was made to the replacement of the three missing lamps. The committee will continue to monitor the situation and chase, as necessary.
A few years ago the heating pipes for Baly, Ponton, Ducavel and Despard Houses were re-routed. They were moved from the interior of the buildings, where they were difficult to maintain, to the exterior of the building. The pipes were clad with a mixture of white PVC and painted plywood. The plywood quickly degraded, delaminating and shedding the pigeon-spikes that were installed on top.
The coucil applied for retrospective planning permission for the above work in 2015 (Ref. 15/00106/RG3), but this was refused on the grounds of the materials chosen being unsuitable (the painted plywood) and insufficient drawings being provided. Lambeth has now made an updated planning application (Ref. 16/05754/RG3) in which they propose to replace some of the cladding with powder-coated galvanised steel. Comments can be made on this application through the Lambeth Planning Portal.
After the visit to the estate by Peter De Bique (Senior Project Manager at Lambeth Housing) on 29th July this year (detailed in this post) we have just heard that an inspection of the balconies will take place tomorrow (1st December) and Friday. The results of the inspection will be used by Ray Hussain (Asset Manager) to draw up a specification for work to repair the balconies. It is expected that this work will start in January 2017.
In the meantime, any balconies identified as a health and safety issue will be made safe immediately, we are told. If your balcony is dangerous, please point this out to the inspectors, if you can.